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Minimal Complexity Manipulation Assistive Devices

Robotic serial chain mechanisms offer considerable flexibility in accomplishing a wide variety of mechanical manipulations within their workspace. However, in many cases, the multiple degrees of freedom of the robotic serial chain tend to be excessive for specialized and repetitive tasks. Hence we are investigating the development and use of a novel class of minimal-complexity manipulator assistive devices called Coupled Serial Chain mechanisms for such tasks. Such Coupled Serial Chain (CSC) mechanisms can be realized by coupling the rotational joints of a serial chain linkage with cable-pulley or geared transmissions. The resulting multi-link articulated mechanisms resemble robotic serial chains in terms of their workspace and their anthropomorphic geometry. However, unlike their robotic counterparts, they require fewer actuators, are simpler to control and can be manufactured inexpensively.

The greatest advantage lies in the ability to customize these mechanisms to perform specific manipulation tasks with complex trajectories and force interactions with the environment, which makes them attractive for use in tasks like assembly plant automation. In this research, we are investigating the use of Fourier methods to customize such CSC mechanisms for desired path following tasks. In conjunction with optimization, this enables the creation of a powerful tool for the mechanism designer by helping in the identification of many alternative feasible solutions and permitting a more complete and rapid exploration of the design space.

Y-W. Pang, V. Krovi
 


Annual Report

Mon Jun 26 21:22:20 GMT 2000